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Gov. Inslee extends face covering requirement for businesses statewide

 

Last updated 7/3/2020 at 1:08pm

Gov. Jay Inslee and Sec. of Health John Wiesman announced Thursday, July 2, a statewide requirement for businesses to require face coverings of all employees and customers.

Under this proclamation set to take effect on Tuesday, July 7, businesses may not serve any customers, if they do not comply with the state-wide face covering order.

The extension comes in response to growing case counts in counties across the state, and after last week's proclamation mandating the same requirement of businesses in Yakima County.

"We're doing this because of a spike in cases of COVID-19 all over the state," Inslee said. "The better we can protect ourselves from the virus, the better we can avoid repeating some of the painful measures we had to take in the spring to shutdown the economy."

"The trends we are seeing in our communities and across the country are concerning and should make all of us stand to attention," Wiesman added. "We must redouble our efforts to keep our physical distance, wear our face coverings and limit the number of people we see each week."

This requirement will be monitored by the state Department of Labor & Industries. There are exemptions to the order, including people with certain disabilities or health conditions, people who are deaf or hard of hearing and children under the age of 2.

The order does not require you to document or prove a reason for not wearing a face covering. If a business won’t allow you to enter their office or store, ask them what accommodations they can provide such as curbside pick-up, delivery or virtual meeting options.

Wearing facial coverings, along with adhering to physical distancing, is one of the most effective ways of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Recent surveys show that more Washingtonians are wearing face coverings every day. In less than a month in Yakima, the percentage of people wearing masks went from one-third to two-thirds of the population. Trends like this will help in slowing the spread and allow for the eventual reopening of economies.

Inslee also has ordered a statewide pause on advancing counties from their current phases under Safe Start.

Additionally, bars will no longer be able to serve from the bar or have people congregate at the bar in Phase 3. Bars will still be able to provide table service.

"I would love to tell you when this emergency will be over, but emergencies, by nature, work by their own rules, not ours," Inslee said. "Until there are widely available treatments to suppress the spread and the effects of COVID-19, this fight continues. I know Washingtonians are up for the task."

 

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